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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Guide to Deciphering the Internal Codes Used by the Tobacco Industry

  • Author(s): Doris Cullen
  • Geoffrey Ferris Wayne
  • Gregory N. Connolly
  • Howard Koh
  • et al.

Although previous research provides examples of the tobacco industry's internal coded, acronyms and abbreviations, no studies to date have undertaken a systematic review of this secretive internal jargon. In this study, we review tobacco industry documents to identify industry lists of codes and their definitions, types of codes, and patterns used for coding as well as specific codes related to product research. These findings are organized to assist other researchers in finding and decoding documents relevant to their own particular topics of interest. Likewise, we encourage documentresearchers to consider the use of code patterns, particularly those that are unique specific manufacturers, departments, project areas or types of research. We conclude that effective document research requires the development of coherent strategies to identify and decifer the coded and terminology used internally and that sharing this information will facilitate and expedite future research.

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